Luis Severino had a chance to go ahead in the starting rotation competition against Team Canada on Wednesday afternoon.
Unfortunately, he didn’t.
Severino had noticeably poor fastball command, which led to him allowing two runs on four hits while striking out four. The only positive to come out of Severino’s start was his command with the changeup.
“Being down in the zone is important for him, and when he got up today, he got hurt,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after the Yankees defeated Team Canada 10-4 on Wednesday afternoon. “It all comes down to location. When he got the ball down, they didn’t swing or they didn’t have a good swing. So for him, it’s making that adjustment.”
The Yankees would like Severino to be a big starter for the Yankees, especially since the team believes he has the stuff to succeed. However, Severino has to prove that he’s capable of going through the lineup about two to three times.
That was something Severino couldn’t do last season, which resulted in a demotion.
“Of course I want to be a starter,” Severino said. “I know I have to work on my stuff. I have to work on my fastball command and my slider. I think my changeup right now is very good. I just need to work with Larry (Rothschild) more, that’s it.”
There’s no clear-cut winner of the rotation competition, and considering we’re only in the beginning of March, it makes sense there isn’t. However, Severino has more to lose than the other candidates.
If Severino loses, general manager Brian Cashman said Severino will start the season in Triple-A as a starter. The Yankees would rather have Severino stretched out then add him as a bullpen piece to begin 2017.
“Our focus is trying to figure out who the starters are going to be,” Girardi said. “Of those five guys, we wouldn’t put all three of them in the bullpen. They all have options. They all could for the most part go down in a sense. Anything’s possible. There are no gifts, so you’re going to have to earn your spot.”
That means for Severino, he has to turn his Spring around if he wants a big-league job.